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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Leave Your Sleep exhibition press release

Natalie Merchant and Barbara McClintock: Leave Your Sleep

Amherst, MA (October 28, 2013)— Natalie Merchant’s double album Leave Your Sleep arrived in 2010 to rave reviews, transforming a selection of classic children’s poetry into a collection of original songs. In 2012, the picture book of the same title was published with richly imagined watercolors by illustrator Barbara McClintock. Now, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to showcase the art from the book in the upcoming exhibition Leave Your Sleep: Natalie Merchant and Barbara McClintock, beginning November 26, 2013 and running through May 4, 2014.

From Poetry to Song to Picture Book

The album Leave Your Sleep, which Merchant spent five years researching and writing, originated from a collection of poems — from such notable poets as E.E. Cummings, Ogden Nash, and Edward Lear — that come alive through an eclectic blend of styles, from folk to jazz to R&B to Celtic influence.

 “Poetry on the page can be difficult to penetrate; sometimes it needs to be heard. I used music to enter these poems, and once inside I was able to understand how they were constructed with layers of feeling and meaning,” said Merchant.  Two years later, Leave Your Sleep was again reimagined, this time as a picture book, illustrated by Barbara McClintock and published by Frances Foster Books/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. A prolific children’s book author and illustrator, McClintock captures the spirit of both the original poems and Merchant’s songwriting in rich ink and watercolor drawings. The book includes a copy of select songs from Merchant’s album.

The collection is, as Merchant puts it, a “parade of witches and fearless girls, blind men and elephants, giants and sailors and gypsies, dancing bears, circus ponies, a Chinese princess and a janitor’s boy . . . My hope is that this collaborative book of poems, pictures and music will provide many enchanted hours to children eager for beauty and the sort of adventure that happens between the pages of a book and the words of a song.”

About the Exhibition

The exhibition in the Carle’s Central Gallery focuses on McClintock’s artwork for Leave Your Sleep, from early sketches to finished pieces. “There will be a lot of Barbara’s preliminary work in the exhibition to reinforce the extensive work and creative process that goes into a collaboration like this,” said Chief Curator Nick Clark. The exhibition will also include some of Merchant’s drawings, which she produced in anticipation of making the book. The comparison provides a nice opportunity to see how two artists approach the same idea in very different ways.

About the Museum

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric and Barbara Carle founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 40,000-square foot facility has served more than half a million visitors, including 30,000 schoolchildren. Its extensive resources include a collection of more than 10,000 picture book illustrations, three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call 413-658-1100 or visit the Museum’s website at

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FOR REPRODUCTION  For additional press information and/or images, please contact Sandy Soderberg, Marketing Manager (413) 658–1105 /

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